The finish line is the battle zone for the volunteers. When I heard
of the timer programs that use a synch'able palmtop to log finishes,
I was interested. I have used Palm products (in outdoor situations)
and they can be durable. They can also be more expendable than a
laptop. One of the programs uses multiple hand-helds to record
finishes, then when they are synchronized to the main laptop there is
a way to arbitrate or make corrections. This way you can use a
couple of volunteers doing their thing at the finish line and pretty
much capture most finishers in some way.
The finishes are easy for the hand-held. The user just taps the boat
number to capture time/place order of finish. For larger races the
user may have to page to the boat number. One of these programs is a
shareware deal. So the only expense is the hand-held. I guess that
is a BIG only.
All this is great. But Michael's observations are well considered.
I agree with him: it's just probably not time for SR to get on this
particular bleeding edge. We need a real gung-ho race director with
a stack of savvy volunteers to show us how.
Maybe we can corner Michael after a race and talk more.
--- In SoundRowers@..., "zeke_hoskin" <zeke@z...> wrote:
I wrote a race timing system as an exercise in interactive
databases. It wasn't particularly hard to do, but it would gave
an inconvenient amount of work to use it the first time, and it
would have required a laptop that could run for the length of
registration plus most of the time when boats were finishing. (It
could be turned off after registration was cleaned up and turned
back on when boats started to finish.) Using a computerized system
would cause added stress to any volunteer who happens to fear and
hate computers. I discussed it with Michael Lampi before the Lk
Sammamish race and he decided not to use it. I don't know if
else looked at it seriously.
There's a lot to be said for providing timers with big stiff
waterproof timing sheets with boat numbers and lines painted or
printed on them before the race. On the other hand, reorganizing
race results between overall and class layout is trivial on a
computer, time-consuming and error-prone done by hand, and a total
pain in the butt if timing is manual and information then has to be
keyed in after the race.
I'd be willing to work with anybody who wants to try it out. I'd be
even more willing if it could be linked to the member list -- once
somebody is in the database (including his/her most probable boat
class), registering a single is a matter of two or three
and a double not much worse.
I wouldn't be willing to provide the laptop (ours died) or skip the
race (but I could help with registration, since I usually get a lot
of help with launching). Once registration is done, all the timers
have to do is turn on the computer and click the race start icon
when the race starts, turn it off, turn it back on near the end of
the race, and click the number button for each boat as it finishes.
When the heat dies down, they can fix up the ones they missed (or
clicked the wrong number).
As long as nobody drops the computer into the salt chuck, it is
simple to display the results.//Zeke Hoskin